Election 2024

Support Us

Top GOP super PAC not spending in Vegas-area House races, breaking from past cycles

Gabby Birenbaum
Gabby Birenbaum
Election 2024Elections

Congressional Leadership Fund (CLF), the House Republican leadership-connected super PAC dedicated to growing the GOP’s majority, announced its initial fall ad reservations Wednesday — a sizable $141 million buy across the nation.

But Las Vegas, a media market that it has poured millions of dollars into in prior cycles, was left off the list. The decision reflects national Republicans’ increasing belief that the three Democrat-represented seats in Southern Nevada are not worth the return on investment.

In the 2022 cycle, CLF reserved $15 million in its first ad buy to go on the air in Southern Nevada — the most it earmarked in any media market. By the end of the cycle, outside groups had spent more than $28 million in efforts to unseat Reps. Dina Titus (D-NV), Susie Lee (D-NV) and Steven Horsford (D-NV) to no avail. In the first election under new maps drawn by Nevada Democrats to protect Lee’s and Horsford’s swingy seats, all three won another term.

This time around, working with limited resources relative to Democrats and a condensed battleground map that both parties believe will come down to a handful of competitive seats in California and New York, CLF is folding in Las Vegas — at least for now.

According to AdImpact, which tracks political ad spending, Democratic super PAC House Majority PAC is the only outside group to make ad reservations for House races, while a few organizations, including the conservative Americans for Prosperity and progressive Protect Our Care, are already up on the air.

The lack of spending in Las Vegas reflects the expensive ad environment that outside groups are working with nationally. With their focus trained on seats in pricey media markets in Los Angeles and New York City and competing with the presidential race and marquee Senate races in swing states including in Nevada, CLF said their map is tighter this cycle.

“The map is undoubtedly small, and we are in a dogfight,” CLF President Dan Conston said in a statement. 

And CLF has thus far raised less than it did last cycle — $25 million in the first quarter of 2024 compared to more than $37.5 million in 2022. The October 2023 ouster of then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) neutralized House Republicans’ best fundraiser; his replacement, Mike Johnson (R-LA), has proven capable, but affiliated groups have not been able to bring in the same amount of money as they did with McCarthy at the helm. 

CLF’s Las Vegas calculus could change later in the cycle, particularly if a promising candidate emerges from the primaries in any of those districts. All three districts have GOP primaries that include self-funders who have loaned massive amounts to their campaigns.

But the lack of an early spend or fall reservation is telling — when CLF announced its first list of endorsements in April for 20 candidates, no Nevadans were included.

On the Democratic side, House Majority PAC, the super PAC arm of Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), made a significant ad reservation in Las Vegas in April. The nearly $7 million that Democrats earmarked stands only behind Los Angeles, New York, Portland, Oregon and Detroit.

Outside groups typically pay more for air time than candidates, leading them to make reservations in the spring for September and October. Based on their fundraising and evaluation, they can shift these reservations later.

Democrats need to flip just four seats to win a majority in the House. Of the 11 Republican-held seats the Cook Political Report currently ranks as toss-ups, seven are in California or New York, with an additional seat in upstate New York rated “Lean Democrat” — hence the focus for both parties on those states. 

In Nevada, Lee’s race is rated “Lean Democrat,” while Titus’ and Horsford’s are considered “Likely” Democratic holds.


Get more election coverage

Click to view our election page

Featured Videos